By Ian Huddleston, Community Organiser
Dinnington SEND group are a group for young people who are very active in the community, providing support for many families in and around Dinnington. I met with Jo from the group in early March to look at ways in which we could work together and to try organising events for their young people.
The group youth club is based at the JADE centre, this is where we initially got talking as I had previously worked with JADE on several projects including the Dinnington boxing group.
Jo is very active in the community and always looking at ways in which she can expand the group and work on new things to improve the lives of their young people, as there isn’t many facilities and other groups for SEND children in the area.
Initially we were looking at running an Easter event with the young people. This was to include different elements set up as taster sessions to see if the young people enjoyed certain things. We could then look at putting on further events with them.
We organised the Dinnington boxing group to come down and run some box-exercises with them. We looked at putting on some arts and crafts, as well as potentially looking at a local performing arts group to come down to run a little workshop. Unfortunately, this got cancelled due to lockdown and restrictions.
As we went into lockdown, the focus shifted as we were unable to run events as we normally would, so we worked together to see how we could involve them in projects to keep them creative and still have fun, and help with the mental wellbeing of the group.
The group have worked with us on several projects over the lockdown period. We ran an art competition with them, receiving lots of entries and we gave out prizes. Also, Gabby from the group took part in our covid diaries project and talked about how she has been feeling over the lockdown period and talked about her community in the SEND group.
Over the summer the group looked at putting on socially distanced events as restrictions were lifted. This is something we were able to help with and although we were not able to support on the day, we were there to help advise on risk assessment, organised for Dinnington Community boxing group to safely run a session with them, and to make sure the group was covid safety secure. To make sure this we done, we invited Jo and David from DC boxing to attend a covid safety workshop via Zoom prior to the event, so everybody knew how to run the afternoon safely.
The group are also now taking part in RotherFeds Halloween competitions and actively getting involved, sending in their scary stories and pumpkins.
We will continue to work with and support the SEND youth club and are continuously looking at ways in which we can work together to engage with the young people of the Dinnington community.
Conversations are ongoing currently about a potential online support group for parents, and looking forward to working on Christmas events. The Youth club is due to physically return in the spring.